Tom Cooper scored a gritty 72 not out to rescue Netherlands © Getty Images (File Photo)
By R Vishal
Mar 19, 2014
Tom Cooper‘s superb unbeaten knock of 72 pulled Netherlands out of troubled waters against Zimbabwe to post 140 for five in the ICC World T20 2014 Group B qualifier in Syhllet.
In a must-win battle for both teams to stay in the com, it was Netherlands who won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket that was predicted to be rather helpful for the spinners. Prosper Utseya opened the attack for the African nation and trapped the dangerous Stephan Myburgh in front of the third ball of the match.
Wesley Barresi came was on a mission to hit the bowlers out of the park. Two back-to-back boundaries of Tinashe Panyangara was followed by a beautiful inswinger by the bowler to rattle Barresi’s stumps.
Minutes later, Tendai Chatara’s athleticism was on full display when he sprinted to the other end of the wicket to catch the hesitating Michael Swart short of the stumps. The first power play was the most exhilarating and productive phase of the series so far — it was hard to keep up with— runs, wickets, some good fielding and some that induced a snigger or two.
Netherlands found themselves in deep trouble when they lost their skipper Peter Borren and Zimbabwe had yet again taken a wicket with batsmen trying one shot too many and finding the fielder. It was another wicket for the impressive Utseya.
At 35 for four, the cooper brothers steadied the innings. The duo were the antithesis of the top order, playing with minimal risks and moving the scoreboard along. Tom played his shots whenever he found an opportunity to free his arms while his conservative brother held out in the deep for 20, after adding more than 50 runs for the fifth wicket.
Tom, however, grew from strength to strength and was dealing with boundaries at one stage. Netherlands didn’t lose further wickets and were happy to reach a competitive score of 140 after being in danger of getting shot out cheaply after the powerplay overs.
Netherlands 140 for five in 20 overs (Tom Cooper 72*, Ben Cooper 20, Mudassar Bukhari 14*; Proper Utseya 2 for 24) vs Zimbabwe.
(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian School of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)